Category Archives: Free Stuff

Bye Bye Comcast – Hello Wii+Netflix+HuluPlus+Antenna

I recently moved to a new apartment and despite the new amenities featured in my new place there was one major loss in the transition – ATT U-verse. The new spot is wired for Comcast, not for U-verse, which really sucks. U-verse is 2xs a better deal than Comcast when it comes to cable TV and all the nickle-and-dime things Comcast requires just to have a halfway decent experience. After 3 weeks of giving Comcast another try I packed everything up, returned it to the service center and decided to revamp my “entertainment center” (I use the term “center” term very loosely).

I decided to go with a combination of Wii-Hulu-Netflix (which I already subscribed to and love)-Redbox-Antenna. Here’s what i have learned so far…

Wii – My Wii is getting more use in the first week of January than it did in 2012 as a while. This was the best (and probably the only) gift my brother got me as an adult!

HuluPlus – Hulu is nice. I used to watch the free shows online a lot years ago and hadn’t been doing so as much. Now, without cable, this is a great way to watch some of my favorite TV shows on the larger screen – Scandal, Tonight Show, etc…
Pros: Watching shows and series on TV and on computer
Cons: Selections are limited; Movie selections are questionable at best; Did not work well with Wii via wifi (skipped a lot)

Netflix – The current love of my life!! I watched all four seasons of both Mad Men and Breaking Bad and a host of great B-list movies, documentaries and even some more current films via Netflix. Works seamless on the Wii and I also use the app on my laptop, iPad and Windows phone.
Pros: Watching shows and series on TV and computer; App works seamless across my technology
Cons: Movies and shows are not the most current – have to wait for Season 5 to come out

Redbox – There is a Redbox kiosk in my office building, my grocery store, my neighborhood gas station…. they are everywhere. Very convenient for that moment when you’re leaving work and decide a movie would be a great way to end the evening.
Pros: Inexpensive, especially if you forget to return for a day; Lots of options, including new movies
Cons: Can’t forget to return or it racks up

Antenna – I purchased an antenna from best Buy only to realize that my TV was pre-digital transition, so I also ordered a digital converter from Amazon… waiting for that to ship and arrive. In the meantime, I can pick up about 5 channels on the antenna – weather, two Christian channels and only one that comes in clear with old TV shows like Knight Rider.
No Pros and Cons until I get the digital converter I ordered.

Upfront costs – buying a new TV wasn’t an option, so I worked with what I had and bought the following accessories to enhance my experience (should have been more patient and checked for price matches or just used Amazon because clearly I overpaid for each one in Best Buy):

All in all, so far things have been good!!!

Pros: Saving plenty of money each month on cable. With the bundle I’m saving $40/month now, after my bundle would have expired the savings are more like $60/month (not including upgraded channel selection or premium channels).
Cons: No sports! Which is ok for me – luckily I have friends, or 2 cool neighborhood bars within walking distance or I can watch online

Considering the switch?? HuluPlus has a 2 week FREE trial offer if you sign up through my referral code!
http://hulu.com/r/zLTOSg

FREE Birthday Food

I am ALL ABOUT free food! And your birthday is the best time for it. Last year I was in the middle of a no-spending challenge so the free certificates really came in handy. This year, they are just as great! When the emails come in I print them out and put them in my purse. So when I am driving around and pass one of the places I just stop and eat!

Earlier this week I enjoyed a delicious (FREE) meal from Noodles & Co, where the waiter made the great suggestion of the Pasta Cavatappi dish with a bowl of Tomato Basil Bisque soup. Very tasty!

Today I ventured out solo to use my Benihana coupon which entitled me to 1 free entree. I normally do the hibachi style chicken and shrimp combo and figured that would be a great lunch on a cold day. Since it was lunch the price was reduced to around $11 or so. When I placed my order the waiter said “That is cheap for lunch time. You get up to $30 for a free entree. Why don’t you get something bigger??” I said , “Ok, maybe lobster? I dunno… you have any suggestions?” he immediately suggested the $35 Benihana Ocean Treasure which includes hibachi style lobster tail, mussels, scallops and jumbo shrimp. As a seafood lover, I was sold from the jump….

And it was AMAZING!!!!!!!! I snapped a pic on the grill. Can’t beat that!

Up next: I still have Braxton Seafood, Maggiano’s, Brio Tuscan Grill, Cold Stone Creamery, FlatTop Grill, Applebee’s and a couple of others!

The item of the day just earned me the official title of Girlfriend of the Year!! As a gadget geek, I am pretty sure Bobby loves not having to ever research anything electronic, because he knows I already have and can run down the list of features, how it works and why I/we need it. Bobby has a huge TV and last year I won a BOSE stereo system, which I donated to his entertainment center and hooked up to a receiver a friend of his gave him which gave an almost ultimate experience. The downside, was that Bobby loves his music. So in order to play the music from his macbook through the speakers, he had to hook the macbook to the receiver and essentially leave it there, since the cables weren’t long enough to keep the laptop on the couch. He had to get up and hunch over the mac to change songs/albums and after weeks of watching this I decided to make his life easier for Christmas….

So I bought him an Apple TV.

FINALLY (over a month after Christmas) he opened the package and hooked it up to the TV today. You would think he won the lottery as he so excitedly called me to run through all the features (which I of course already knew, LOL) and the simple setup (which was a huge selling point for me). So what does all of this mean, in a nutshell??

– he can use wi-fi to connect to the sound system and doesn’t have to hunch over by the receiver. Now he can control it from the couch.
– beyond the couch, he can actually control the music wirelessly from any room in the house.
– he can rent movies in HD without us having to get calls from Blockbuster asking for the movies we rented weeks ago.
– he can watch the videos from his and his friends YouTube channels on the big screen. In HD.
– I can rest until next December knowing I accomplish my goal and my title still stands! 🙂